Francesco Bagnaia has clarified his comments regarding the factory and satellite MotoGP bikes which he reckons it was taken out of context.
Francesco Bagnaia (Ducati Lenovo Team) has been making headlines all season. From the perfect wins of Portimao and Jerez to a couple of mistakes in Argentina and Americas, there was plenty to talk about on track even before he went toe-to-toe with Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team) in the Tissot Sprint in France, with the pair creating one of the most spectacular battles of the season so far. Both riders also doubled down hard on a message for the FIM MotoGP Stewards on Saturday evening: this is how we like it.
On Sunday, Bagnaia was back in the headlines after his crash with Maverick Viñales (Aprilia Racing) too, as tempers flared in the gravel. After that moment – compelling at the time, but which both brushed off later once the adrenaline cooled off – some comments from Bagnaia’s debrief then made the rounds.
Talking about the close racing – not the type he enjoyed against Marquez on Saturday, but the too-close type – Bagnaia harked back to the era of the ‘Fantastic Four’ (Valentino Rossi, Casey Stoner, Jorge Lorenzo and Dani Pedrosa) and the gap there used to be between factory and Independent Team bikes. That was picked up across the board, and then IRTA President Herve Poncharal weighed in, calling any need for the sport to return to that kind of era “bullshit”.
Now Bagnaia’s own right of reply has seen the reigning MotoGP World Champion clarify his comments to Autosport. First, what he really meant by that: “What has been published is out of context due to the interpretation made by some people. I was asked about safety and the reasons for the increase in accidents and I simply tried to make an analogy and said that this didn’t happen before.
“I think that years ago there was less contact because there was a big difference between the top riders and the others. Now everything is much tighter. I got to MotoGP with a satellite team. How am I going to suggest creating a gap between the work bikes and the satellite ones?”
Bagnaia also used the forum to call out what he sees as the real bullshit: stoking controversy. “After Le Mans, I disconnected for three days, without a phone, and when I reconnected I saw the controversy that had been generated with Poncharal, magnified by the championship’s official website.
“The snowball has been getting bigger and bigger when, at no time, I made any comment to create controversy. On the contrary, I am aware that this is a very serious issue such as safety. Unfortunately, we are entering a dynamic in which some people prefer to look for controversy rather than talk about who wins or the beautiful battles that take place on track.”
The stylish riposte continued as the #1 drew a line under it: “Lately there has been too much talk about things that are not of my competence. I am a rider, I am in love with this sport and my only goal is to win races and work with my team. From now on I will only talk about the sport, which is what I know best, and I will leave the rest to others. I’m tired of having to justify every word that is taken out of context as a pretext to open a controversy.”